Washington D.C.’s LGBTQ Literary Festival OutWrite Welcomes New Leadership

Marlena Chertock, Malik Thompson, OutWrite Co-Chairs

Local poets Marlena Chertock and Malik Thompson have been announced as the new Co-Chairs of OutWrite. After 5 years of service, culminating in the 2020 festival being nominated for the 35th Annual Mayor’s Arts Award, writer and editor dave ring is stepping down as Chair of the festival. We thank him for his many years and support of OutWrite.

Malik and Marlena look forward to continuing OutWrite’s mission of cultivating inclusive literary programming that reflects and uplifts trans/queer literary communities. Both poets come to this work after being engaged in literary community — including festivals, conferences, poetry readings, open mic series, and writing workshops — at both the local and national level for years. OutWrite is delighted to have them at the helm, looking towards 2021 with the intention of centering BIPOC writers, Indigenous writers, and disabled writers.

OutWrite has extended the submission deadline for 2020’s two special edition festival journals: Ten Year Retrospective and We Got This: Black Writers on Imagination, Joy and Liberation. The new deadline is November 30. View submission guidelines here.

Mark your calendars for next year’s festival, which will be August 6-8, 2021. Due to this uncertain time, we will be planning OutWrite 2021 with the assumption that it will be virtual. We will release updates as the situation develops. Please visit outwritedc.org for more information and submit your ideas for panels and readings!

More about the Co-Chairs of OutWrite

Marlena Chertock, a white writer with short brown hair in a jean jacket with a space scarf holding a copy of her book.

Marlena Chertock has two books of poetry, Crumb-sized: Poems (Unnamed Press) and On that one-way trip to Mars (Bottlecap Press). She uses her skeletal dysplasia as a bridge to scientific writing. She is queer, disabled, and a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee. Marlena serves as Co-Chair of OutWrite, Washington, D.C.’s annual LGBTQ literary festival, and on the Board of Split This Rock, a nonprofit that cultivates poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes social change. Her poetry and prose has appeared in AWP’s The Writer’s Notebook, Breath & Shadow, The Deaf Poets Society, Lambda Literary Review, Little Patuxent Review, Neon Hemlock Press, Noble/Gas Quarterly, Paper Darts, Paranoid Tree, Plants & Poetry, Rogue Agent, Unheard Poetry, Washington Independent Review of Books, WMN Zine, Wordgathering, and more. Find her at marlenachertock.com and @mchertock.


Malik, a queer Black man, in front of a purple wall.

Malik Thompson is a Black queer man proud to be from D.C. A bookseller, anime fanatic, and workshop facilitator. Malik has worked with Split This Rock, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Moonlit DC as a workshop facilitator. He also organized the Poets In Protest poetry series at the Black queer owned bookstore Loyalty Bookstores. Malik’s work can be found inside of Split This Rock’s Poetry Database as well as the mixed media journal Voicemail Poems. You can find Malik’s thoughts on literature via his Instagram account @negroliterati.




About OutWrite

OutWrite is a celebration of LGBTQ literature, held annually the first weekend in August in Washington, D.C. The 2021 festival will be August 6-8, 2021. For more information, visit: thedccenter.org/outwrite.

About the DC Center

The DC Center for the LGBT Community educates, empowers, celebrates, and connects the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. To fulfill our mission, we focus on four core areas: health and wellness, arts & culture, social & support services, and advocacy and community building. We envision communities where LGBT people feel healthy, safe, and affirmed.